The stars stretch from horizon to horizon, so much that I cannot pick out the usual constellations; there are just so many stars in the dark, moonless sky. I think about my folks. I’ll return to my dad and his new girlfriend, now in my house. I know he’ll be pissed I went to North Carolina. I can’t believe how many people I deceived on this trip. All that ‘good ol’ boy’ act, the accent, and not saying we’re from Miami is so shallow. Sneaking around with a married woman is exciting but way out of my depth. The whole story with the cops is a nightmare, especially since they believed me. And the worst deception is not being able to tell Scott what happened with Wayne and Floyd. Did they force me to have sex against my will? I can explain it that way, but I went along with it and enjoyed it, even the fighting. Now I feel like I cheated on Scott. Will he even be jealous? What kind of relationship do we have? We certainly aren’t monogamous when we both screwed the Ann sisters. I really don’t think Scott is very gay. We’ve had sex with each other only twice. I romantically thought coming up here would mean we’d be alone a lot. Instead, we had all these adventures, involving various people. Maybe he feels uncomfortable having sex around his family. There just isn’t the same intensity we felt before we’d even done it. Maybe he did it to please me, since I’m the gay one. Now we can just continue to be best friends. I’m past doubting my gayness, but I’m still confused about girls. All the girls I’ve fucked were casual one-time affairs. Sex is as good with girls as it is with guys. Last summer Joey weaned me off my emotionally over-wrought self-involvement; with Scott, we were emotionally charged before we had sex. Doing it solidified our feelings; it’s a more mature relationship and seems natural. Maybe we’re best friends who sexually experiment, and we’ll grow out of it. The incident with Wayne and Floyd is just weird. They obviously felt it’s okay to victimize me. I’m sure they aren’t dealing emotionally with what actually happened. It’s threatening to their sexual identities, especially Wayne’s. Better to consider their confusion as just rewards for trying to rape me. I like those guys, especially Wayne, remembering his drag race victory. But I’m not going to miss them after we leave. That thought hits me; we leave the following day, on Saturday morning. I can just drive away from all the complications my deceptions caused, just leaving them behind. It’s too pat, running away from my problems. Do I want to tell the sheriff about the moonshine, what happened in the woods, and, oh yeah, I’ve been screwing your wife, plus her sister. The truth shall set you free. Might as well tell the Watts about Scott and me. And Helen should know the truth about Joey’s career in porno, hustling and dope dealing. A clean sweep of deceptions won’t help anyone and still won’t make me the innocent boy I pretend to be. Last year, when I was overwhelmed by the emotions of my experiences, I threw myself into swimming and the kids on the team, with great results. Again, I have let things get out of control – sex, drinking, and crime. Am I so hot-blooded I always lose control? Will being the ‘good kid’ in Miami work again. The issue is to take responsibility for my actions before events spin out of control. I can’t play the kid card forever. If I take responsibility, can I handle the consequences. The reason Willie is using kids to do his moonshine smuggling is the law goes easier on kids when they get caught. I’m so tempted by the action. Scott knew enough to get out of there, which seemed like wimping out at the time. He did what he had to do. I did the opposite. I only got away with it by a massive lie. If he’d been with us, maybe those guys wouldn’t have trird to rape me. The whole situation, including the cops, could have been avoided. My mind spins with all the ‘what if’s’, until I finally relax. All I need to do is be cool and learn from these mistakes. Real intelligence is not making the same mistake twice. I lean against the piling and see the moon come up over Lake Norman. I start whistling Otis Redding’s “‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’….wastin’ time.”
I don’t notice Scott until he puts his hand on my shoulder.
“Can’t you sleep. I missed you.”
“Yeah, man. What a day. You ready for some heavy thoughts?”
“That’s why I’m here.”
“I’ve been going over all the lying and deceptions we’ve been through here. Y’know, the girls, drinking, and the whole thing with the sheriff. I feel like a criminal.”
“It’s not that bad.”
“My only excuse is my age. I’m still a juvenile. You know Willie uses those guys ‘cause they walk as juveniles if they get caught?”
“Really? I thought it’s ‘cause Wayne’s such a hot driver.”
“True, But Willie’s just using them. I now see everything from a different perspective. It’s like last year. I go crazy on vacation. You were so smart to split today.”
“I just felt like a coward.”
“No way. You did what was right. You’re the only one to get out of harm’s way. Just like when you almost got run over by the boat; it was my fault for challenging you to race in the dark. I’m just hot-blooded and crazy.”
Scott puts his arm around me.
“You saved my life. Since then I’ve never had so much fun. I don’t want it to stop because you suddenly get a conscience.”
“Do you really think you’re a fag?”
“What? I don’t know or care. I love you and want you always. You showed me I like fucking girls. Maybe you’re thinking too much about it.”
“Would you be jealous if I had sex with other guys?”
“You planning to be a gay slut? I care so much about you. I just figure we’ll grow up, end up marrying girls, but we’ll always be best friends. Until then we’ll do what we want to do with each other. Sex just happens, especially around you.”
“More than you know,” I sigh. “I’m going to tell you what really happened today, so there’s no deceptions between us. Just don’t get mad ‘cause it doesn’t mean anything. I just want to tell you everything.”
“Okay, and what’d y’all do?” and he laughs.
I hug him so tightly that he has to squirm.
“The reason the cop found the car is ‘cause Floyd and Wayne took me into the woods to rape me.”
“What? Those guys are fags?”
‘The way they see it, it’s okay to fuck someone who’s gay. They call ‘em sissy boys.”
“Like in Deliverance, huh?”
“Pretty much. They got all drunk on moonshine, jumped me and pulled my pants down.”
“It was two against one. What could you do?”
“I fought enough for it to be a standoff, with my back to a tree. Except by then it was three guys with three hard-ons. I was turned on, thinking I was going to be raped.”
”So you guys all got it on?”
“Pretty much. Until we heard the police radio. Then, what I told you before took place.”
“Shit. I always miss out.”
“You think it’s cool?”
“Sure. You guys had a three-way. I wonder how it would have been if I was there.
“Man, you’re getting weird, too. I doubt they’d have jumped both of us. They don’t even consider themselves gay. I thought you’d be jealous even though it didn’t start out consensual.”
“Why? Are you in love with them now?”
“Well, maybe Wayne’s butt a little bit.”
That sets us wrestling around on the dock. I soon feel Scott’s hard-on.
“Shit. I’m going to get raped again.”
“I guess it’s your day.”
“I thought you’d lost interest in me.”
“I just don’t get so horny when I’m around my family.”
“I thought you were going straight.”
He tries rolling on top. I push him off. Then, grabbing him, we roll into the water. As we come up, I pull his shorts and Speedo down. Taking a deep breath, Igo down on his hard-on under water. It takes about fifteen seconds. When I come up, he holds me while I catch my breath.
“That’s exciting,” he finally says.
“You went off like a rocket.”
“Yeah,” he gasps. “Four, three, two, one, and go off. You need to get off, too?”
“Naw, you just owe me one.”
“Tim, I want you to go for it anytime you’re horny. How could you even think I’d be jealous? Thanks for telling me the whole story. I want you to love me. That means trusting me with everything.”
“I feel so much better telling you. I got caught up with all these lies and withdrew.”
“I promise to never let you go off without me. Next time you may end up with someone gross, although I doubt it. We’re such sluts we do it with anyone.”
“What if they’re fat?”
“It’s like doing it in jello.”
“You fall in and drown.”
“Crushed by quivering mounds of lime Jello.”
We smile together.
“Butt lust buddies,” he pinches my butt as we walk up to the cabin.
After breakfast we’re siting around when a vehicle drives up. It’s the Sheriff and Cheryl Ann.
Scott whistles, “She sure pushes it.”
“I’m getting that feeling again, Scott. I don’t like these deceptions.”
“You’ll be okay. Just act innocent.”
Mrs. Watt answers the Sheriff’s knock.
“Mornin’ Missus Watt, Sheriff Tom again. My wife and I want to inquire as to how the boy is today.”
“Com’n in, Sheriff. Let me get some coffee for the two of you.”
Turning around, she yells for us. “Scott. Tim, get down here. You’ve got company.”
We both instantly appear and stand in the kitchen door, while Mom entertains the guests.
“Howdy, boys. How y’all doin’ Tim. Still shook up about yesterday?”
“No, sir. I feel fine today. No more hitch hiking, though.”
“Good boy. My wife wants to invite y’all to the Friday Night Social at the Grange Hall tonight. It’s a country good time, if’n y’all wants to come.”
Cheryl Ann pipes in, “It’s mostly square dancin’, but if y’all wants to help me and Lee Ann, we can dance to records between the fiddler sets.”
“Like a sock hop?”
“Sure. Tom here has a fine collection of 50s and 60s singles, If y’all help out, I’m sure we can git all the young’uns to dance.”
“How’d ja know we like oldies?” Scott asks.
“Just a wild guess. Y’all be sure ta tell yer friends at the general store. We’ll really rock tonight.”
Sheriff Tom’s grin means he’s pleased that Cheryl Ann is excited about the plans.
“We’ll be glad to help,” Scott volunteers.
“It’s good family entertainment, so we hope y’all attend, including you and the mister, Missus Watt.”
“Thank you. I’m sure we’ll all be there.”
“By the way, Tim, we found that car from yesterday. It had been stolen from the garage in town.”
“Did you arrest those men?”
“No. It was abandoned. Don’t you worry about those men. You gave good descriptions. We’ll git ‘em. Just don’t go wandering around by yourself. You and your brother stick together.”
“Yes, sir,” we both answer.
After they leave, Scott and I sit at the end of the dock. I start to laugh, mostly from nervousness. Scott says I acted totally normal.
“What a laugh, ‘cause I don’t feel normal no more.”
“Just ‘cause you’re a two timing, moonshine running, police lying, child molester, don’t feel bad.”
“Yeah, remember me. I’m under age. So is Lee Ann. And don’t forget Wayne. If we really investigate, it probably turns out you molested every child in all four counties. A serial molester.”
“And since you’re my best friend, you’re probably my biggest victim.”
“No doubt. You must do it every night after I’m asleep.”
“Actually, what you’re remembering is Stu. He’s my new protégée. I have him practice on you.”
“You seem to enjoy it.”
“You really are twisted.”
We run up to the house, grab Stu, and drag him screaming to the dock where we throw him in the water. We stand there laughing at him below us.
“What I do? What I do?”
“It’s disgusting. Tell him, Tim.”
Winking so only Stu sees, I say, “I told Scott what we’ve been doing to him in his sleep.”
“Oh yeah, and you love it, Scott.”
Scott dives in, catching him in a few strokes. It isn’t much of a match, so I jump in on Stu’s side, turning the tables. Stu mocks Scott as I hold him back.
“You keep saying, ‘Do it again, do it again.’”
“You’re both gross.”
But we love it, especially Stu.
After lunch, we ride to the general store. I ride on Scott’s handlebars, as my bike is still stashed in town. The boys are hanging out at the soda machine. Once they see us, the hooting and hollering starts. They all know the story about our escape from the cops. They fill us in on the conclusion. Floyd and Wayne ditched the car, once they made their delivery. They claim the cop’s bullets creased their long hair.
“Y’all sure y’all ain’t confusing that with the skid marks on yer shorts?”
‘Yeah, like y’all wasn’t shittin’ when ya fainted in front of the pig?”
“Academy award performance, man.”
“Saved yer butts,” Scott pipes in.
“The Sheriff says they found the car in Charlotte.”
“Not much sense drivin’ round a shot-up Charger. Draws the long stare of John Law.”
”Y’all got plans tonight? Cheryl Ann told us to git yer asses to the Grange Hall social.”
“No way. That ain’t nothin’ but a buncha ol’ folks.”
“She says we’re gonna play some rock n roll. Y’all gots to come.”
“She’s got y’all pussy-whipped.”
“Ya got that right.”
“Well, we’ll all show, if’n jist ta harass yer asses.”
My bike is just where I’d left it. Not much market in North Carolina for stolen bicycles, even among thieves. Truthfully, even though my bike is still new, it’s so thrashed. It isn’t worth anything. But I’m glad to have it back. Riding double with Scott was hard on my much-abused ass.
Time to get ready for the dance. While going through our typical hair styling and fashion choices, Scott and I sing, “A white sport coat and a pink carnation…I’m all dressed up for the Prom.”
Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC
Instead of the normal white tees, we’re wearing white dress shirts with our least worn jeans. With wet, combed hair, we think we look slick. Stu looks like a miniature version of us and is excited to be going. First we go out to a fried chicken dinner at the usual restaurant. It tastes so good. Arriving at the Grange Hall just after dark, the girls are waiting for us outside.
“Y’all’s late but this is perfect. All that’s happening is the square dancin’. Com’n, we’ll teach y’all.”
They drag us into the hall. Scott and I are breaking up laughing, as the girls try to lead us through the steps; we’re always a half step behind. The oldsters ignore us stumbling youngsters. Sheriff Tom waves at us, from his place of authority by the front door. After a couple of bumbling dances, the girls lead us to a side office where they have a small stereo and a huge collection of 45 oldies. We quickly thumb through the collection and pick out our favorites, with the girls acting as censors. No black singers are allowed, but we still find plenty of dance songs. Once we’re set up, we go out to the parking lot where Floyd’s gang is drinking moonshine.
“Havin’ a good time, boys?” I ask.
“Pretty much as expected.”
“Y’all gots to come inside once the records start.”
“Sure ‘nuff, boss,” Wayne pipes in. “Y’all wants some moonshine,” Wayne offers us the bottle.
“I pass. It tends to git me in too much trouble.”
We return to the girls. The fiddlers are finishing and ready for a break. Sheriff Tom gets up and announces there will be special dance break for the young people. We roll out the stereo, and Cheryl Ann gets the microphone. About ten kids, Stu’s age, gather in front of us.
“Y’all listen up,” she starts. “We’re gonna rock. So git out here and dance.”
The older people look dismayed, moving to the back of the hall. Floyd and his boys are watching from the doorway, waiting for something to happen. About twenty kids are standing in a semi-circle in front of us now. I take the mic, switch on the stereo, and announce, “This one’s for you, Cheryl Ann,” and play the Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’…
‘”(You walk like an ace now, you walk like an ace)
She makes the Indy 500 look like a Roman chariot race now
(You look like an ace now, you look like an ace)
A lotta guys try to catch her
But she leads them on a wild goose chase now
…And she’ll have fun, fun, fun Till her daddy takes the t-bird away.”
Songwriters: Love, Michael Edward / Wilson, Brian Douglas
Published by Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
The girls start clapping to the beat, so Scott and I do our best Coasters imitation, dancing in step. We all sing the chorus, just not into the mic. The next record is Freddie Cannon’s ‘Palisades Park.’ I grab Stu and throw him around to the words: ‘Up, like a roller-coaster, down like a loop-de-loop, run like a merry-go-round…’
CLARIDGE MUSIC CO.
The other kids start spinning each other around. I dedicate the next song to Floyd and Wayne, ‘Double Shot of your Baby’s Love.’
Their mouths drop open when Scott and I do double pelvic thrusts to each other during the chorus. Some girls are even doing the jitterbug. Floyd picks out Johnny Cash’s ‘A Boy Named Sue.’,
but is too shy to make a dedication, much to my relief. It’s too country for dancing, so everyone stands around and sways. Lee Ann puts on Leslie Gore’s ‘My Boyfriend’s back’…
“You’re gonna be sorry you were ever born
(Hey-la, hey-la, my boyfriend’s back)
‘Cause he’s kinda big and he’s awful strong
(Hey-la, hey-la, my boyfriend’s back)”
Feldman, Bob / Goldstein, Gerald / Gottehrer, Richard
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, O/B/O APRA AMCO
Cheryl Ann runs up to Sheriff Tom and strokes his biceps, while sneaking a look at me. Everyone sings along to ‘the Name Game,’
Elliston, Shirley / Chase, Lincoln
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Before it is over, Wayne yells out “Chuck,” which we all rhyme ‘Chuck, Chuck, bo Buck, Banana fana fo fuck, Chuck.’ Someone yells out for the Beatles, which we didn’t have, this being America, so we all sang ‘Sgt Pepper’ into the microphone.
’It was twenty years ago today,
Sgt Pepper taught the band to play,
everything’s done in style,
just so you can smile,
let me introduce to you,
the one and only Billy Shears.’
Songwriters: LENNON, JOHN WINSTON / MCCARTNEY, PAUL JAMES
Published by Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Then Scott takes the microphone and sings solo, …’What would you think if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song, and I’ll try not to sing out of key. Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends. I get high with a little help from my friends.’
Songwriters: JOHN LENNON, JOHN WINSTON LENNON, PAUL MCCARTNEY, PAUL JAMES MCCARTNEY
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
At the word ‘high,’ Scott points at Floyd and crew and motions them up to the microphone. Gathered all around, we all sang several more verses. Eventually every young person was in a big circle, arms around each other. We break out into applause and cheers for ourselves. Sheriff Tom looks the happiest with one arm around Cheryl Ann and the other around Lee Ann. I’m next to Cheryl Ann and Scott next to Lee Ann. Stu has his arms around Scott’s waist. We all move in one rhythm. I look over at the Watts. Mrs. Watts has been smiling through tears since Scott did his solo. Mr. Watts is beaming. The other older people just stare in amazement. Finally we break apart into little groups. Sheriff Tom asks Mom how she likes country life.
Scott and I walk outside with Floyd and Wayne.
“I want to kill y’all ‘bout ‘double shots of love’,” he threatens.
“What about ‘A Boy Named Sue?’” I shoot back
“Just payback, sweetheart.”
“Y’all be glad we’s leavin’ tomorrow?”
“Sure nuff. Y’all is fun fer City Boys.”
“How’d ya know we was from the city?”
They crack up, “’Cause all y’all say is y’all this and y’all that. Takes more’n a few words ta be country.”
“Don’t take that much ta be friends.”
“Just some moonshine and a romp in the woods.”
“Next time, we’ll let y’all be the bottom. Right, Wayne?”
He just grins at me.
“Y’all come back now.”
The girls are waiting inside the hall door.
“Sayin’ goodbye to the boys?”
“Yeah, we had some good times up here.”
“Y’all gonna miss us?”
“Does a bear shit in the woods?”
“Y’all knows what I mean.”
“Y’all can stop with all the y’alls. We know yer from Miami. And that’s not the South.”
“Good thing yer married. I’d be mighty tempted to fall fer y’all.”
“There ya go again, bein’ what ya ain’t.”
Scott has already pulled Lee Ann outside for a more physical goodbye.
“Well, thanks for a great time.”
We look into each other’s eyes. I can’t detect a bit of deception.
“We’ll miss you boys. I hope y’all don’t think I’m a wanton woman.”
“Wantin’ more, maybe, once I’m gone.”
She gives me a big hug, then with one eye on Sheriff Tom, a quick kiss. Scott comes back, with his shirt rumpled and a tell-tale bulge in his jeans. I feel cheated in the goodbye category.
“Y’all look like yer ready to stay a while,” I observe.
“Might even become a good ol’ boy.”
“Well, we’s good to ‘em, both girls and boys.”
“Lee Ann says to give ya a big kiss goodbye.”
“I’ll take it later.”
“Don’t want Wayne ta git jealous, do ya.”
“Everything’s tied up. All these deceptions won’t mean nothin’ once we head back to Florida.”
We started singing the Righteous Brothers’ ‘You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling.’
After which the locals all slap us on the back and say we were ‘some righteous entertainers.’
We go back inside the hall, say goodbye to Sheriff Tom and leave with our folks. At the cabin, Stu joins us down on the dock, where we reminisce about our stay here. Stu is leaning on Scott’s shoulder, with Scott’s fingers running through his hair until Stu falls asleep. We carry him upstairs and put him to bed. Then we walk along the lake shore, not talking. The quiet is deafening. Once we were far enough from the cabin, we sit and beat each other off. Lying on our backs afterward, we gaze at all the bowl of stars in the dark sky.
“It never rained once while we were here.”
“Just about everything else happened.”
“Will you be glad to get home?”
“I have to face my dad. He never gave me permission to come here.”
“You gonna miss your mom?”
“Not really. I never told you, but she takes lots of pills to avoid dealing with my dad. She just wasn’t all there.”
“You want to stay at my house.”
“No! Well, sometimes, but I want you, in my bed, in my house, in my heart. You know I can’t stand being away from you.”
We hug and he says, “I thought I was the needy one.”
“I need you needing me. That’s a constant. I have a place with you. This whole life we created up here will just vanish tomorrow. It’ll seem like a dream, not real.”
“I won’t leave you, Tim.”
Then we jump each other, having real sex, not just masturbatory release. We walk back and sleep wrapped tightly around each other. There’s plenty of room for Stu to slip into our single bed when he wakes up. We tell him to not be so gay. We pack and are on the road before noon. The three of us make a special area in the back of the station wagon. We do doo wop rhymes and whistle until we get to Georgia. After eating dinner, I call home. Dad answers.
“Hi Dad. It’s Tim.”
“You ready to come home yet?”
“We should get in tomorrow night. Not too late. Can you hold dinner until Scott and I are there?”
“Yeah, my best friend. From the swim team. You saw his picture in the paper, remember? He’s been living with us since May. I’m with his family on vacation. Right, Dad?”
“Why’s he living here? His folks don’t want him?”
“No, Dad. It’s how we want it. I’ve stayed with them for the last two weeks.”
“Well, I’ll have to talk about it with Susan .”
“This isn’t a discussion. You both are moving in. I’m not changing how I’ve been living. You act like I’m doing something wrong.”
“No. I just don’t like surprises,” he argues.
“Well, don’t surprise me with new rules and restrictions. It’s not fair to Susan to put her in the middle of discussions. Don’t you want us to start off on the right foot.”
“You’re acting like I have no say.”
“Dad! This is no time for an argument. Do you want us home for dinner tomorrow, or should I just stay with Scott’s family?”
“Susan and I are going out. We’ll leave you guys food, if you need it.”
“Thanks Dad. I miss you.”
“Yeah, me, too.”
Stranger and stranger.
I go back to the motel room, but Scott isn’t in our room. I find him in the coffee shop, talking with an older man. He’s getting picked up. I walk up to them.
“This is Fred. He’s from Charlotte.”
He carefully looks me over, then figuring I was safe, too, propositions both of us.
“Y’all wanna come back to my room and make twenty bucks apiece?”
“Com’n outside,” I tell him.
Once in the parking lot, I grab him by the collar.
“Listen, asshole, We’re both fifteen. It’s a crime to proposition us. Scott, go call the police.”
Scott just stands there, staring. The salesman turns white as a ghost.
“Here, stop. Take the money and forget it.”
He pulls out his wallet. I grab it, take out one hundred dollars and his ID.
“Get out of here, you scumbag. I’ve got your address and will turn you in if I hear about you propositioning kids again.”
I throw the wallet on the ground. He picks it up and scurries awkwardly away.
“Wow,” Scott exclaims. “How’d you know you could do that?”
“Joey taught me in New York. But why’d you let him pick you up?”
“I just thought he was friendly. I sat down and was talking with him. You were on the phone for so long, I got lonely.”
I laughed. “What a slut you are. Here,” and I hand him forty dollars.
“The slut scores. But how come you get more? He really wanted me.”
“You’re just the bait. Next time I’ll wait until he’s raped you. As your pimp I keep all the money.”
“I wouldn’t have gone with him.”
“I know, Scott. I did the same thing last year in Virginia, except the guy chickened out when he found out I was fourteen. Don’t tell Mom.”
“That you’re a slut?”
He looks chagrined. We go back to the motel and watch TV, arguing with Stu about the channels.
In the morning we leave Georgia. After crossing into Florida, we get on the Florida Turnpike and start making good time. We pull into Dade County at 5pm.
“How about spending one last night with us, Tim?” Mrs. Watt asks.
“Thanks, Mom. But I told my dad we’d be home for dinner.”
“We?” Mr. Watt asks. “Does that mean Scott’s still staying with you? I thought we’d gotten our son back.”
“Com’n, Dad. You know I’m staying with Tim.”
“Well, are you sure it’s okay with his dad?”
“My dad knows, Mr. Watt.”
They were quiet for a while. Then Mr. Watt adds, “I’m not sure it’s best for you Scott, to spend so much time away from home.”
“Dad, look what’s happened since I’ve been with Tim. I’m State Champ, my grades are the best ever, I get along with Stu better – I even like him now. We start swim team tomorrow, so you know exactly what I’ll be doing. You act like I’m out of control.”
“Calm down, Scott. You can stay with Tim as much as you want. We just want to see more of you.”
Mrs. Watt adds, “Why don’t you stay with us more, Tim.”
“Thanks, Mom,” I answer. “And thanks for the greatest vacation of my life. I’m part of this family, so of course you’ll see us more. It’s just that with my dad and his girlfriend moving in, things are changing. Scott helps me feel normal. And it’s great to know you’re there for me.”
“Of course, Tim.”
Pressure, from two sides now.